Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Open Letter to Obama – Facebook Campaign

By on November 15, 2009

My fellow Teacher Leader Network colleague, Anthony Cody, recently began a Facebook campaign which has lit a fire in teachers from around the country. Open Letters to President Obama asks teachers to write a letter to our president and Secretary Duncan in the form of a discussion post about our concerns in their current educational policies.

Cody explains his mission in his Living in Dialogue post as well as on the Facebook page which has, to this date, inspired over 400 educators to voice their concerns about the direction of this current administration.

Each week, Anthony Cody send the letters on, and the campaign is ever-growing.

I am particularly concerned about how few teachers are sitting at the federal education table, a table whose seats are currently occupied by textook and test-creating execs posing as educational policymakers. However, more often then not, teachers are being blamed for education’s faults without being invited to the higher conversations proposing or implementing solutions.

It’s hard to admit but despite what we know about the damage NCLB has done to education, it is still here, stronger than ever. ?The rest of the country is cheering for Change and Hope, yet it is getting increasingly hopeless in education. After all, prior administrations may have sent us down this road, but we were all looking towards Obama to change it’s direction. It has yet to be seen.

My letter was as follows:

Dear President Obama and Secretary Duncan,
My hope has been replaced by fear: fear that the textbook lobbies are still controlling the direction of education, fear that biased and antiquated assessments are still controlling the direction of our lessons, fear that in a global community, America is still trying to just swing on its own porch. The future in education is in teaching skills our schools are not funded or even encouraged to teach. We are the best bubbling country ever! You both claim that technology is our future, but fund our necessities as if it were our past.

In the equation of student success: student effort + family support + federal funding + school content delivery, the only and easiest element to claim accountability are the teachers. Yet every variable must be taken to task for the success of our children. Our windows are broken, there is police tape on our yards, our tools are 20th Century, and yet it falls to the school to solve the problems of its communities, cities, and country.

You have a war going on here at home, fought by talented troops of both new and veteran teachers who have always been dedicated to the future of this country. We are being abandoned by the media seeking for villains in this story, abandoned by the families believing the propaganda, and abandoned by our government looking to blame someone for the failings of a systems and its parts.

Please allow teachers to speak at your table. We are a knowing voice in content, in its delivery, and in our global goals.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron
Middle School Teacher

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